Seven Minute Mile

The long-daunting Seven Minute Barrier falls, albeit only by a gnat's whisker! At the MCRRC "MidSummer Night's Mile" son Robin slashes 30+ seconds off his PR for the distance. I manage to squeeze 20 seconds off mine and sneak across the finish line at 6:59.74 according to the official record. My litany of mistakes: zero warmup; cross starting line about 2 seconds after the "gun"; lose another second or two passing other runners on the curves at the end of the track. Maybe a slightly smarter race would have been slightly faster for me?

Notes on that and other recent runs follow ...

2008-07-11 - MidSummer Night's Mile

1 mile @ 6:59.74 min/mi

Tonight's race goes as per plan, with fairly even splits: 1:46 + 1:48 + 1:44 + 1:40 according to my watch. Comrades Wayne Carson, Ken Swab, Cara Marie Manlandro, Jeanne Larrison, Christina Caravoulias, and Caren Jew also do well at this warm but pleasant evening event, in some cases running cautiously as they come back from injury. I take more than 500 photos for the MCRRC photo sharing site, a few of which are surprisingly nice. Robin and I have to leave before the final, fastest heats are run. My quads remain sore for four days thereafter.

(correlates: 2008-08-26 - RCT Evening Acceleration, Sharp Focus, EnlivenedSolitude, ...)

2008-07-12 - Candy Cane Trail Run

~10 miles @ ~13 min/mi

From home I trot slowly 2+ miles to Candy Cane City where I arrive about 7:15am. Ken Swab soon materializes, and we sit and chat until the MCRRC weekend trail run group gathers for their trek through Rock Creek. Simultaneously the Club's 8k training squad is starting here, accompanied by graduates from the Club's "Beginning Women Runners" program. Ken runs with the leaders along the Western Ridge Trail, while I bring up the rear. At a fork in the trail Jim Cavanaugh, John Schawbe, and I turn back and take the Valley Trail and the Holly Trail back, while the others proceed on a longer run to the Park Nature Center. J&J&I joke about our various old-man medical issues. Jim is signed up to run Vermont next weekend, his first 100 miler. John & I suggest that he get a young lady for a pacer. (As it turns out, on 19-20 July stout-hearted Jim finishes his century race in 29.5 hours, in spite of being accompanied by a helpful young gentleman.)

(correlates: 2008-10-11 - Candy Cane Trail, 2004-11-03 - Leaf Blower Day, WikiIsIt, ...)

2008-07-13 - CCT Cutdown

10 miles @ ~11.3 min/mi

Cara Marie Manlandro and I arrive simultaneously at the Capital Crescent Trail parking lot in Bethesda; Ken Swab is there ahead of us, and soon Emaad Burki materializes. About 7:15am we set off southbound on the CCT from milepost 3.5, chattering and complaining and accusing one another of being sandbaggers. Emaad admits to having done a 4:05 mile in his high school days; CM confesses to swimming a mile in 16:25. Ken complains that his Georgetown Law School tuition went to pay CM's scholarship. I manage to miss most of the mile markers while quibbling with Ken and entertaining CM. After 4 miles Emaad turns back; the rest of us continue on past Fletcher's Boathouse to milepost 8.5 (58 minutes), reverse course, and accelerate to make it back in 55 minutes. Ken throttles back to a more sensible pace as CM & I blast out our final three miles in 11, 10.5, and 10 minutes respectively. My legs are still aching from Friday evening's mile-without-warmup at the track.

(correlates: 2008-06-24 - Descending at Lake Artemesia, 2008-09-07 - Needwood RCT Taper, AugustAptorisms, ...)

2008-07-16 - Parks Half Marathon Preview

13+ miles @ ~12.2 min/mi

Ambling before sunrise down Veirs Mill Rd, Cara Marie Manlandro and I startle a bunny rabbit. Three miles later it's our turn to be startled, this time by a huge stag bearing a magnificent rack of antlers on his brow and standing menacingly a few feet off Rock Creek Trail. Perhaps he's protecting the doe that stands behind him? Today CM and I are following the Parks Half Marathon course, a point-to-point route from Rockville to Bethesda. It's CM's longest run by ~30%. Just before 5am we meet at the Rockville Metro, both of us having made wrong turns on the way to the parking lot. We enjoy unseasonably cool and dry weather for a Washington-area summer. Fortunately the impromptu aid stations I've concealed behind trees at miles 5.5 and 9.9 turn out not to be needed. Robins feed on the ground near us as we trek along. At one point a bright goldfinch zips by. Our pace is consistent, between 11.5 and 13 minutes/mile including ample walk breaks. CM's calf muscles begin to tighten after a while, but Succeed! electrolyte capsules at miles 7 and 9 apparently cure them. For a weekday morning we see a goodly number of cyclists and joggers. After 2 hours and 40 minutes we touch an arbitrary stop sign near the corner of Bethesda & Woodmont Avenues which we anoint as our finish line. A few blocks later we're on the Metro back to our starting point, and soon thereafter at our respective homes.

(correlates: High Voltage Fiberoptic Cable, 2008-09-18 - Anacostia Evening Loop, 2004-08-04 - Eight Eight-Eighties, ...)

2008-07-19 - WOD Trail Trek

9+ miles @ ~12 min/mi

A teacup-sized bunny darts across Mary's toes during our hill climb at mile 8 and gives her a burst of adrenaline. It's already a warm, sunny morning in northern Virginia at 6:30am as I pick up Mary at her home and follow her directions to the parking area near mile marker 29.5 of the Washington & Old Dominion Trail. We take the parallel crushed-bluestone horse path most of the way, with a few side excursions. I tease Mary mercilessly about her overuse of the "S" word (she says "Sorry!" too often, quite unnecessarily) as I garble Shakespeare and Gerard Manley Hopkins in attempts to recite poetic passages from memory. My GPS says we've gone 9.4 miles total distance at a pace of 11.3 min/mi during our running segments. We take 59 minutes outbound and 57 minutes for the return journey. Our overall average pace, including 10 minutes of not-running (potty and water breaks) is about 12.4 min/mi. As we approach the end of our run a cool wind blesses us for the final 30 seconds. Would that it has arisen sooner! Mary avers that two young girls distract me and almost make me miss the path at one turn. I honestly don't remember either girls or turn, and counter-claim that studly dudes on the trail draw Mary's gaze, as does the $5k bicycle that one hunk rides. Meanwhile, I collect coordinates at the mileposts we notice, missing a few where the horse trail takes us aside.

mile latitude longitude

(correlates: SlipAway, 2004-11-10 - WOD Luncheon, TransfiniteMeaning, ...)

2008-07-20 - Sweet and Sweaty Seneca Sixteen Sunday

16 miles @ ~17 min/mi

Today starting at 5am from Rt 355 Caren Jew and I follow the same route as on 2008-06-14 (cf. Deadfall Day) but are six minutes slower in the crushing heat & humidity, as temps rise from the upper 70s into the 80s with the dewpoint firmly stuck at 70°F. My flashlight's beam reveals a brown frog on the trail; offended, it hops away and quickly vanishes among the leaves on the forest floor. After sunrise a dead mole on the trail distracts us, as do sunbeams over photogenic fog-shrouded meadows and ponds. Caren scrapes a big tick off her leg just after Brink Rd while black stinging flies swarm about my head. On our return journey we meet comrade Mike Acuña and chat with him as we catch our breath. Caren spies a turtle craning its neck as it stands on a log in the middle of the stream.

Caren claims she's "down" but keeps smiling as we trek along Seneca Creek at a good pace, upstream 8+ miles and back. By my watch we're 48 minutes from Rt 355 to the first of three aid stations that Caren planted in the pre-dawn murk (Watkins Mill Rd, 3 miles), 1:26 more (total 2:14) to our turnaround at Watkins Rd (mile 8), 1:34 back to Watkins Mill, and 46 minutes more to touch our respective cars. Surprisingly we go a couple of minutes faster during the last 3 miles than during the first 3; the fact that it was dark when we started may have had something to do with it. Caren's right foot hurts, and I feel a bit of bruising on the top of my right foot.

(correlates: 2008-06-14 - Seneca Creek Sixteen, SuspectTerrain, 2008-06-22 - Rock Creek Park Loop, ...)

2008-07-22 - Catoctin Overture

14+ miles @ ~20 min/mi

At 0430 Caren & I rendezvous at the Clopper Rd commuter lot by I-270 and carpool north past Frederick to stare the Catoctin Trail in the face — once it gets light enough to see, that is. A long drive on Gambrill Park Rd takes us to Delauter Rd where Caren parks on the narrow shoulder. After a few minutes to let the sun rise we set off northward at 0540 following blue blazes past a pond where a great blue heron eyes us warily. Temperatures are in the 70s with near-100% humidity, and during the morning it gets hotter, past 80°F, until as we're almost finished with our journey breezes materialize and then a gentle shower helps cool us down. Steep, rocky hills slow our progress. Caren spots blackberry bushes by the trail and we pause to eat their delicious fruit both outbound and during our return. We discuss movies and music. I offer mini-lectures on time travel, the optics of retroreflection, and conservation of energy.

Today we're previewing the middle 12 miles of the Catoctin 50k course, in preparation for the August 2 race that we plan to run together. Our splits are 40 min from Caren's car to Fishing Creek Rd, then 34 min to Gambrill Park Rd again, followed by 44 min to the point on a hillside where we realize that we've gone astray near the Manor parking area of Cunningham State Park. I estimate we may have spent 7 minutes climbing off course, so that means it took 37 min "in theory" for that course segment. We expend another 7 min getting back to the race's turnaround point, where I invest 4 minutes in the restroom. (Apparently a pre-run dinner of baked beans and jalapeño-flavored potato chips is slightly suboptimal.) Heading back it takes us 58 minutes to retrace our steps to Gambrill Park Rd, 35 min more to Fishing Creek Rd, and 43 min back to touch Caren's car. We refill our water bottles and add another mile-plus by trotting along the crushed stone road from the car to Gambrill Park Rd, where we tag a stop sign and then run back, a final 16 minutes. Our total "moving time" (not counting going off-course and pausing at the Manor parking lot latrine) is 1:51 out and 2:16 back. Unfortunately the Catoctin 50k cutoffs for this segment are 1:40 out and 2:05 back, so we hypothetically miss both time limits by exactly 11 minutes each. At least we're consistent! Now if we can only go 2 min/mi faster on race day. Easier said than ...

(correlates: AtTheTime, OnStage, 2008-06-14 - Seneca Creek Sixteen, ...)

(cf. Ducky Rock Creek Trail (2008-05-12), Catoctin Trail Trek (2008-05-19), Game SET Match (2008-05-27), Barred Owls (2008-06-10), Deadfall Day (2008-06-27), Patient Companionship (2008-07-06), ...) - ^z - 2008-07-22

(correlates: Deadfall Day, WardrobeMalfunction, All Good, ...)